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Pinewood Derby Times
Volume 14, Issue 3
November 5, 2014

In this Edition:

- Editor's Notes

- Feature Article - Pinewood Derby Awards

- Humor

- Product Showcase - Propeller Car Kit - Additional 10% Off

- Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

- Q&A

Editor's Notes
Discount Tungsten
We have the following tungsten products with slight defects. If you are interested in one or more of these items, give us a call at 623-587-9261:

3.5 Ounce Tungsten Canopies

  • Quantity 5 with one chipped edge - $10.95

  • Quantity 1 with a slight "lump" on the canopy - $10.95

  • Quantity 1 with two chipped edges - $8.95

(Note that the retail price is $19.95)

2.5 Ounce Tungsten Canopies

  • Quantity 1 with a slight "lump" on the canopy - $7.95

(Note that the retail price is $14.95)

Adjustable Tungsten Round

  • Quantity 8 with slot too narrow to hold 1/4 inch cubes. Will hold 3/16 inch cubes or tungsten putty. Sold without cubes. - $9.95

(Note that the retail price is $17.95)

Help! We Need Your Car Photos
In order to continue including a Car Showcase section in this newsletter, we need your car photos. Please send us a photo of your car along with a description of any special features to:

Please include your full name. If selected, we will include the photo and description in this newsletter.

Photos must be sent by e-mail in JPG format (minimum size of 640x480, maximum size of 1280 x 960). Please shoot photos from the front left of the car, similar to the orientation of car shown at:

For better focus, keep the camera four or five feet away from the car, and then use the camera's zoom to fill the frame with the car. Also, use a solid (preferably white) background for the photo.

Send only one photo per car, unless an additional photo is needed to adequately show a feature. Thanks.
Inventory Clearance Sale
We also are clearing inventory on several items including:
  • Light-weight (3.2 ounces and under) plain and slotted blocks,

  • Most of our SuperCar kits,

  • The ever-popular Wedge SE,

  • The special edition Funny Car Kit (only 19 left), and the

  • Propeller Car Kit.

We don't have many left, so don't delay. Click Here to find our clearance items. Don't miss out on the great prices.

MV Basic & Wedge Car Kits

If you are planning a race and are not required to use a specific kit type, our MV Basic or Wedge Car Kit are just what you need. These attractively priced kits are equipped with:
  • Quality Block - Unlike the blocks provided by some organizations, our blocks are soft, northwestern pine blocks, cut precisely to 7 inches long, 1-3/4 inches wide, and 1-1/4 inches tall. These dimensions, as well as the axle slots accurately duplicate the dimensions of standard pinewood derby blocks from BSA and PineCar.

  • Simple Axle Preparation - Don't worry about filing off flaws, or losing hub caps. Our Speed Axles have no burrs or crimp marks, and install without hub caps. With or without polishing, they are ready to go. We supply five, so you have a spare.

  • Quality Wheels - Forget cheap, out of round wheels. Our MV wheels are top-quality wheels. You will not be disappointed with the quality of these wheels.

So, if your organization does not mandate a particular kit type, consider our MV Basic Car Kits or MV Wedge Car Kits

Can We Help?
If we can help you in any way with your pinewood derby project, or if you have any feedback regarding this newsletter, please contact us at:

Feature Article

Pinewood Derby Awards
By Randy Davis

Should every child entering a pinewood derby race get an award? Or should only the top cars for design and speed be given a trophy? How about a compromise? The answer to these questions will likely vary from person to person, and depends a lot on your philosophy of raising children.

I am not a child psychologist, so I can't argue the theory that underlies awarding children. But I am a parent that cares about my children. Before they leave our home, I want to give them a solid understanding of how they should behave and what they should expect to encounter in the world.

I do not believe that every child should be equally rewarded, that is, no winners and no losers. This is certainly not the way the world operates, and teaching a child this perspective will not prepare them for reality. In my opinion children need to understand that sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose, and greater effort leads to greater opportunities for winning. Learning how to deal with losing (and winning) builds character and maturity. So I believe that trophies for the fastest cars and best designs are certainly appropriate.

Non-Trophy Awards
But on the other hand, I think providing a larger variety of awards can be a great encouragement for kids. These can be certificates for: "Best Paint Job", "Car Most Likely Built By a Kid", "Silliest", "Funniest", "Most Aerodynamic", etc. If you are interested in providing these types of certificates, many free downloads are available on the web. Just search for "pinewood derby certificates".

Be careful with these type of awards. If you decide that every participant will get one, then it will be a big challenge to make sure that the number of certificates match the number of entrants, and that the awards are given out appropriately. Again, I don't believe it is necessary for every entrant to receive an award of this type. But that leads to...

Participation Awards
Providing all entrants with a ribbon (or alternate) for participating is certainly appropriate. I am still amazed how much my kids like those ribbons. Even when they won a trophy, they would drape the participation ribbon over the trophy.

Participation awards can be more elaborate. Stan Pope has provided a neat idea for providing a mounting plaque for every car. The plaque has the date of the race and group name/number. See:

Certainly other participation awards such as pins, patches, etc. can also be used. In recent years we have gotten away from ribbons and have been giving each participant a "Hot Wheels" car. My wife watches the ads and picks them up for less than $1.00 each. These are a bit more expensive than ribbons or patches, but the kids really like them (a lot of trading goes on after the race).

I realize this article is a bit short, but of course my experience is limited to the races sponsored by our organization. So, I would like to get your input on this topic. If your group has a method of providing awards that works well or is unique in some way, please send me a description. I will try to include your comments in a future newsletter. You can send your comments to


A little boy was upset with his parents' financial situation, so he decided to write God a letter:

Dear God,

My mommy and daddy need $500 for bills, and I don't know who else to ask. Could you please help?


The letter was received by the local post office and put in the "dead letters" pile. The clerk, being curious of the letter addressed to God, opened it to see what it said. As you can imagine, he was touched by the letter and decided to help. He asked all his fellow workers to chip in a few dollars to help a family in need. When all the money was collected, it came to $300. The clerk sent a money order in an official Post Office envelope with the return address simply: God.

Several weeks later the same clerk found another letter addressed to God in the same writing. The letter said:

Dear God,

Thank you for the $300, but next time don't use the Post Office. They have a $200 service charge.


Product Showcase

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Speed Racer - Nick Fish

This Bear pinewood derby car was built by Nick Fish and his Dad. We love Speed Racer, so we did our interpretation of Speed's Mach 5. It won the den and took first place in the pack without losing a race. District competition was a lot tougher with a 5th place finish. The car is a modified Wing design using a 3.5 oz. tungsten canopy, tungsten putty for the final weight adjustment, raised front wheel, polished/grooved axles, aero underbody, and custom graphics.

The Reaper - Jason Otis

My pack's Pinewood Derby Bandit/Open Class is pretty competitive every year, to the point where we had to create a class just for the parents. I got tired of coming in second, so I put this thing together a couple of years ago.

The main body is from an original BSA Pinewood Derby Kit, and the fan shroud was carved from three pieces of glued-together 2 X 4s.

Specs & Info:
Share Your Car With Our Readers

Do you have a car you would like to "show off" to our readers? If so, send us a photo of your car along with a brief description of any special features. Please include your full name. If selected, we will include the photo and description in this newsletter. Please e-mail photos to:

Photos must be sent by e-mail in JPG format (minimum size of 640x480, maximum size of 1280 x 960). Please shoot photos from the front left of the car, similar to the orientation of this car:

For better focus, keep the camera four or five feet away from the car, and then use the camera's zoom to fill the frame with the car. Also, use a solid (preferably white) background for the photo.

Send only one photo per car, unless an additional photo is needed to adequately show a feature. Also, only one car per subscriber per year please. Thanks!


A collection of questions from a reader:

If I know that we have a straight, smooth, metal track; is rail- riding still important?

Even if the track is smooth and straight, it will not be perfectly level and the car will in all likelihood, contact the guide rail. So, rail-riding is still important.

Would you still raise a wheel on such a track?

Yes, this is always a benefit.

Do you typically raise a wheel on cars with axle slots?

Yes, if allowed by the rules, I raise a wheel even on slotted bodies. This can easily be done by using the raised hole on the Pro- Body Tool. The drill bit will essentially deepen the slot on one side.

Does the weight have to be off-center to accommodate that (raised wheel)?

I played around with off-centering the weight, but did not find any advantage to that. Nevertheless, many people do off-center the weight when running with a raised wheel.

Do You Have Questions that Need Answers?
Do you have a pinewood derby-related question? If so, send your question to: info.maximum-velocity@com. We answer all questions by e-mail, but not every question will appear in the Q&A section of the newsletter.

Back Issues

Are you a new subscriber, or have you missed some of the previous newsletters? Don't miss out! All of the issues for Volume 5 through Volume 14 are posted on our web site and can be found using our Newsletter Index.

Issues from Volumes 1 to 4 are available in four formatted documents, ready for immediate download. To find out more, Click Here.

Newsletter Contributions

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Please read our submission policy.

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The Pinewood Derby Times is a free e-newsletter focused on the Pinewood Derby. It is published biweekly from October through March.

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Randy Davis, Editor, Pinewood Derby Times

Copyright ©2014, Randy Davis. All rights reserved. Please do not reprint or place this newsletter on your web site without explicit permission. However, if you like this newsletter we grant permission, and encourage you to e-mail it to a friend.

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